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Ethiopia coronavirus: Key updates between March 16 - May 16

Ethiopia coronavirus: Key updates between March 16 - May 16


May 16: Cases pass 300 mark

Total confirmed cases = 306 (new cases = 19)
Total recoveries = 113 (new recoveries = 1)
Total deaths = 5
Active cases = 189
Tests within 24-hours = 4,044
Total tests = 53,029

As of May 9, Ethiopia had recorded 210 cases, it means that it took a week for the next 100 cases to be registered. The index case was recorded on Mar 13, it too 25 days for the 50th case to register on April 7.

The next eleven days produced a further 50 cases as the 100 mark was hit by April 18. In three weeks (21 days) on May 9, the 200th mark was reached and in seven days the 300 mark crossed.

Ethiopia remains with one of the lowest infection rates in the East / Horn of Africa region. The region also has Africa’s virus free duo of Eritrea and Mauritius.

Number of cases (new cases)
May 8th = 194 (16)
May 9th = 210 (29)
May 10th = 239 (11)
May 11th = 250 (11)
May 12th = 261 (2)
May 13th = 263 (9)
May 14th = 272 (15)
May 15th = 287 (19)
May 16th = 306

7 days after case #200, the number of #covid19ethiopia confirmed cases in #Ethiopia has now surpassed the 300 mark, tally reaches 306

Case #1 – Mar 13
Case #50 – Apr 7
Case #100 – Apr 18
Case #200 – May 9
Case #300 – May 16

More detail- https://t.co/OVwVdPSTBfaddisstandard pic.twitter.com/0RLc8I8ERs

— Harun (Harun_Asefa) May 16, 2020

May 15: 287 cases, returnees hit 10,000 – UN says

Total confirmed cases = 287 (new cases = 15)
Total recoveries = 112 (new recoveries = 4)
Total deaths = 5
Active cases = 168

All the new cases involve men. Seven with travel history, seven with contact from confirmed case and one with no contact with a confirmed case. The majority of them were from Addis Ababa.

The UN’s migration agency has told the BBC that about 10,000 undocumented migrants have returned to the country majority of them from the Middle East, since Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic.

According to the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), the pandemic has had a severe impact on its efforts to secure the safe passage of migrants.

“The return has to be conducted in a manner that ensures that migrants stay healthy throughout the process. So, we’re having to implement measures that we wouldn’t ordinarily implement.

“Our position is very clear that large migratory movements across borders in a pandemic context are not advisable,” said Maureen Achieng.

The figure includes 11 young men who survived a tragedy in March that claimed the lives of dozens in Mozambique while travelling to South Africa in a shipping container on the back of a lorry.

They were discharged from an isolation centre on Wednesday where they were being held and are expected to join their families in the coming days.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed today held a meeting with religious leaders in the country, in attendance were leaders of the Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches as well as the Islamic Ulama council.

IOM report by BBC

The 11 #Ethiopian migrants who survived when 64 others died of asphyxiation in #Mozambique, are now out of quarantine for #COVID19. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative #Ethiopia is assisting them to travel to their homes & will provide them with reintegration assistance. #AfricaTrustFund pic.twitter.com/FTEI6N5oBF

— IOM East and Horn of Africa (@IOMRONairobi) May 15, 2020

May 14: 272 cases, record for one-day testing

Total confirmed cases = 272 (new cases = 9)
Total recoveries = 108
Total deaths = 5
Active cases = 157
Tests over 24-hours = 3,580
Total tests so far = 45,278

All nine cases are Ethiopians, five male and four female. Five of them are from Addis Ababa and the remaining four from Jigjiga in the Somali region.

Two of the nine new patients have no travel history abroad or no known contact with confirmed case, four have travel history abroad; and the remaining 3 have come into contact with infected persons.

According to private portal Addis Ababa, 3,580 tests represents the highest one-day test since the first infection was recorded on March 13.

May 13: 263 cases, arrests over face masks condemned

As of May 13, two more people tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 263.

Another two patients also recovered making the total number of recoveries 108. The death toll is still at five. 148 patients were under treatment.

In the space of 24 hours, 2650 lab samples were collected from hotel and non-hotel quarantines, the community, contact tracing and health facilities for testing.

Police in the capital Addis Ababa began an operation aimed at enforcing the wearing of face masks, eventually arresting over 1,300 people in the process.

On May 6, the city Transport Authority ordered passengers using minibuses to wear face masks as of Friday May 8. Masks are also a key safety measure under the current state of emergency regulations.

Reacting to the development, head of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, EHRC, Daniel Bekele described the arrests as among others: “arbitrary, disproportionate & counter-productive.”

The arrests “should stop immediately and all those detained should be released immediately,” an official statement quoted him as saying.

May 12: 261 cases, President Sahle-Work speaks

Ethiopia’s case count hit 261, the Health Ministry announced on Tuesday. The figure includes 11 new cases. Death toll is at five whiles 106 persons have recovered. It leaves 148 active cases.

President Sahle-Work Zewde has called for global solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. In a recorded message posted on Facebook, Africa’s sole woman president said the virus was attacking the world and the world needed to unite against it.

“It has raised havoc in communities all around the world. Our way of life has completely been disrupted. Hundreds of thousands of people have died. Millions have lost jobs. Trillions of dollars have been lost.

“This crisis is different. We have suddenly found ourselves in the same boat. As much as individualism and nationalism are visible, it has revealed the capacity of people to support each other and to build solidarity with the weakest among us. We have seen the heroic crew of medical staff and many others.” she stressed.

She reiterated support to the United Nations Call for Solidarity adding: “Let us be clear. It is not about charity or generosity. I stand in support of the United Nations Secretary General’s appeal for solidarity. There is no other option. This is a global crisis. Delay in action means death.”

Report #61
Status update on #covid19ethiopia??? pic.twitter.com/bsVHivIRRz

— MoH ETHIOPIA (@FMoHealth) May 12, 2020

May 10: 239 cases, Abiy appreciates US support

Sunday May 10 new cases were 29 raising the total national tally to 239. Of the new patients, 21 had been in contact with confirmed cases, the remaining eight have travel history from abroad.

Addis Ababa accounted for 21 cases whiles Somali region had 7 with Adama in Oromia region recording a single case.

#Eritrea: rich culture of societal compassion/solidarity in full swing. Substantial contributions to National Fund by all citizens in the country/Diaspora continue to flow on daily basis. Latest trend in this overwhelming act is waiver of monthly rents for tenants by home-owners pic.twitter.com/KVdzvAqore

— Yemane G. Meskel (@hawelti) May 10, 2020

Ethiopia’s overall tally as of close of day May 9 stood at 210. With 16 new cases reported on Saturday by authorities.

Prime Minister Abiy on Saturday thanked the US government for its support in helping the country combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I appreciate the multifaceted support the US Government is providing to #Ethiopia in mitigating the adverse effects of #COVID19. It is through partnerships and collective leadership that we will all overcome,” he posted on social media.

Washington announced a $37m package which encompassed case management, infection prevention and control, laboratory strengthening, public health screening, and communications and media campaigns, among others.

“As we have done time and time again, the United States will continue to support others during their time of greatest need. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. And both during and after this crisis, we will remain steadfastly alongside our Ethiopian friends and partners to help build a brighter future for all Ethiopians,” US Ambassador Michael A. Raynor said last week.

May 7: Tigray’s first cases takes tally to 191

Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region recorded four cases of COVID-19, the first in the region. The figure moves Ethiopia’s overall tally to 19 cases.

Confirmation of the cases came after Health Minister Lia Tadesse had released Thursday’s case file for the country. The official statistics indicated 187 cases.

An official said 85 samples had been tested over a 24-hour period which returned the four positive cases. It takes Thursday’s new cases tally of 25 to 29.

Tigray became the first regional state to get testing facilities outside of the capital Addis Ababa. The state also reported undertaking community based tracing weeks back.

Despite a federal state of emergency, Tigray recently relaxed a similar measure it had put in place before PM Abiy and the cabinet declared a five-month state of emergency.

ኣብ ትግራይ ምርመራ ቫይረስ ኮሮና አብ 85 ተገይሩ 4 በቲ ቫይረስ ምትሓዞም ተረጋጊፁ

85 Samples were tested for coronaviris in #Tigrai; Four tests were positive

በትግራይ በ 85 ናሙናዎች የኮሮና ቫይረስ ምርመራ ተደርጎ 4 ቱም በቫይረሱ መያዛቸው ተርጋግጧል https://t.co/rc8X6Z2SIR

— Kindeya G.hiwot, Prof (@ProfKindeya) May 7, 2020

May 7: record one-day leap takes tally to 187

Ethiopia for a second consecutive day confirmed a record one-day increase in cases. A total of 25 cases within the last 24-hours took the national tally to 187, the Health Minister disclosed on Thursday.

All 25 persons were Ethiopians, 21 of them are in Addis Ababa with two each in the SNNPR and Oromia. 88 persons are undergoing treatment with one person in Intensive Care Unit.

Deaths are still at 4 with 93 recoveries. The number of tests conducted over the last 24-hours was 1,843. Total tests since index case stands at 28,360. People have started asking on social media if it is not yet time for a complete lockdown across the country.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the cabinet declared a state of emergency of five months. It is being overseen by a Council of Ministers.

Constitutional issues around the postponed polls continues to attract tough talk by stakeholders especially from opposition quarters. Abiy in an address today said the government will do all it takes to protect constitutional order in the country.

It comes days after the ruling party in the northern Tigray region, TPLF, said it will go ahead with elections despite the process being officially cancelled by the elections body.

Update: 21 of the 25 are from the capital #AddisAbeba, 2 are from Hadiya & Kembata zone in #SNNPR, & 2 are from #Borana quarantine (Oromia) & Oromia special zone surrounding the capital. 24 are men and 1 is a woman; all of them are Ethiopians. #COVID19Ethiopia #COVID19 #Ethiopia pic.twitter.com/V01Qh4Gcaj

— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) May 7, 2020

May 6: Record 17 new cases take case count to 162

Ethiopia recorded its highest single-day spike with 17 new cases confirmed today, it brings the national tally to 162. Over 1300 samples were tested over the period, authorities confirmed.

Of the 17, seven have travel history from Djibouti – the region’s most impacted nation. Six arrived from Somalia whiles the remaining four have no travel history. All 17 are in mandatory quarantine centers in the Afar and Somali regions.

Records indicate that the Afar and Somali are emerging as new epicenters of the virus, with 13 and 17 cases respectively. Two more recoveries brought the tally to 93.

May 3: Afwerki in town for 2-day visit

Case count reached 135 with two new infections out of 1,560 tests. In addition, 6 more patients from Dire Dawa have recovered, bringing the recovery tally to 75.

There is no patient in Intensive Care Unit; with 55 patients in the isolation / treatment center. Ethiopia has so far conducted 22, 330 lab tests.

Eritrean leader Isaias Afwerki arrived in Addis Ababa for a two-day official visit. He left Asmara on Sunday morning for a meeting meant to touch on three areas.

Bilateral ties, COVID-19 response and locust invasion as well as regional issues, Eritrean Information Minister disclosed on Twitter.

Photos of the meeting shared by PM Abiy showed Afwerki seated at a public restaurant along with his host and President Sahle-Work Zewde. Also in attendance is former PM Hailemariam Desalegn.

Good to welcome again President Isaias Afwerki to #Ethiopia for a two-day meeting where we will be exchanging on bilateral and regional issues as well as the challenges we are currently faced with as a global community. pic.twitter.com/jbUmLj3KbN

— Abiy Ahmed Ali ?? (@AbiyAhmedAli) May 3, 2020

May 1: Ethiopia’s recoveries passes active cases

Ethiopia recorded two new cases in over 900 tests run as at close of day April 30. The first tallies for May thus stood at 133 according to Health Minister Lia Tadesse. The two new cases were both Ethiopians. One with travel history from Kenya and the other Somalia.

Per today’s records, Ethiopia recorded seven more recoveries bringing the tally to 66 from previous 59. The figure is four more than the number of patients currently under treatment.

The patients are in the isolation / treatment center in Eka Kotebe Hospital in the capital Addis Ababa. Deaths recorded still stands at three whiles there is no patient in Intensive Care Unit, ICU.

Ethiopia has recorded single digit increases over the past seven days as compared to double digits by some of its neighbours in the East and Horn of Africa region. A total of 15 cases in total was recorded between April 24 – 30.

April 23: Tigray region relaxes state of emergency

Northern Tigray regional state, the first to declare a COVID-19 state of emergency have announced a relaxing of the measure, the regional information outfit reported.

The state of emergency declared in late March is now expected to last for three months according to the state council.

In explaining the rationale for the current move, regional deputy president Debretsion Gebremichael said despite being uninfected till date, the region had in the past weeks undertaken intense door-to-door screening to detect any early symptoms of the virus.

He added that 23,000 professionals had been deployed and had covered a million and half households in the process. All 33 suspected cases detected turned out negative hence the decision to relax the emergency rule.

Under the relaxed regime, civil servants will be returning to work whiles inter-state movement will resume. Bars and restaurants are allowed to open but to serve customers on take-away basis.

The region has, since April 12 been implementing a 14-day mandatory quarantine for all arrivals at its main airport Alula Aba Nega airport, the privately-run Addis Standard reported citing a BBC Amharic report. The quarantine measures remain in place along with bans remain on social gathering.

Meanwhile, all operations that are now allowed per law must be conducted within strict limits of social distancing and observance of other COVID-19 prevention protocols. The state was also the first to get a testing center.

Ethiopia is currently under a five-month state of emergency declared earlier this month to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Council of Ministers led by PM Abiy Ahmed declared the measure following which lawmakers endorsed it on April 10.

Abiebie Adanech, Attorney General disclosed that the SOE unlike previous ones is supervised by the Council of Ministers & Ministerial sub committees – the later to be established on an as and when basis.

Ethiopia’s case count as of April 24 stood at 117, an increase of one from the previous tally. The number of recoveries reached 25 after 4 new patients recovered in the last 24 hrs. Ethiopia has so far conducted a total of 11, 669.

The new patient is a 60 year-old Ethiopian woman with a travel history from the England and is currently in mandatory quarantine.

April 23: Ethiopia records zero cases over 24-hour period

Ethiopia recorded no new cases of COVID-19 for the first time since April 2, Health Minister Lia Tadesse said in a statement on Thursday.

All 965 tests run over a 24-hour duration tested negative. The case count thus remains at 116. 21 recoveries have been recorded with three deaths. 90 patients remain in treatment centers.

The ministry’s statement added that the zero positive results “do not indicate the decline of COVID-19 in Ethiopia but it showed the tested individuals were not infected with the virus.”

#Ethiopia reports NO #covid19ethiopia confirmed cases for the first time since Apr 2. #Covid19 testing has also increased by 42% from last week, with a total # of 10,736 tests administered thus far.

It feels good to hear some good news for once.addisstandard lia_tadesse pic.twitter.com/0VMkh3bOp5

— Harun (@Harun_Asefa) April 23, 2020

April 20: Cases reach 111, all new cases in Dire Dawa

The case count as of April 20 had reached 111 according to health minister Lia Tadesse’s update for today. Ethiopia crossed the 100 mark over the weekend.

All three cases recorded over the last 24-hours were recorded in the chartered city of Dire Dawa with patients between the ages of 11 – 18. Two of them had travel history from Djibouti.

Till date, Ethiopia has 90 patients in treatment centers. The death toll is still at three with 16 recoveries. A patient is in intensive care.

East / Horn of Africa top tallies

  • Djibouti – 846
  • Mauritius – 328
  • Kenya – 270
  • Tanzania – 170
  • Somalia – 164
  • Rwanda – 147
  • Ethiopia – 111

I visited the #COVID19 treatment center recently setup within Millenium Hall by our very able & capable medical professionals.I am pleased at how quickly the site was transformed to a hospital setup.The preparedness for any extreme eventualities in similar spaces will continue. pic.twitter.com/U4040Bj3GW

— Abiy Ahmed Ali ?? (@AbiyAhmedAli) April 19, 2020

April 17: Cases near 100, Chinese doctors arrive to help

Chinese doctors arrived in Ethiopia on Thursday to support government efforts in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Another group are in Burkina Faso for the same purpose.

State-owned China Global Television Network reported their departure on Thursday disclosing that they had been pooled from Sichuan Province and Tianjin Municipality.

They will share experience, provide guidance and technical advice on epidemic prevention in the two countries, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian is quoted as saying.

Nigeria was the first African country last week to receive a Chinese delegation whiles South Africa also confirmed that it would be seeking Chinese help in combating the pandemic.

“The Chinese Anti-pandemic Medical Expert Team to Ethiopia arrived today to share their ample experience in prevention and control of #COVID19 and to deliver urgently needed medical supplies. My heartfelt gratitude for the solidarity witnessed at this crucial time,” Ethiopia’s Health Minister Lia Tadesse tweeted.

The experts specialize in various areas, including general surgery, epidemiology, respiratory, infectious diseases, critical care, clinical laboratory and integration of traditional Chinese and Western medicine.

The team also carries urgently needed medical supplies including protective equipment, and traditional Chinese medicine that has been tested effective by clinical practice, reports noted.

The team will also cooperate and exchange views with African Disease Control Center and WHO office in Ethiopia.

The Chinese Anti-pandemic Medical Expert Team to Ethiopia arrived today to share their ample experience in prevention and control of #COVID19 and to deliver urgently needed medical supplies. My heartfelt gratitude for the solidarity witnessed at this crucial time. pic.twitter.com/MCZNqW7rx2

— Lia Tadesse (@lia_tadesse) April 16, 2020

April 14: Cases hit 82, Bill gates donates to Addis Ababa city admin

Ethiopia’s COVID-19 file as of April 14 has 82 cases (eight new cases) with three deaths and 14 recoveries. The total number of tests stands at 4,557. Active cases stand at 63 representing about 77% of recorded cases.

Ethiopian COVID-19 Cases Updates

Meanwhile the Addis Ababa City Administration has announced a 200 million birr commitment from the Gates Foundation. The news was disclosed by Mayor Takele Uma-Banti via Twitter. The city has been the most impacted in Africa’s second most populous nation.

Of the eight new cases, five of them are Ethiopians with the other three being Eritrean, Somali and British nationals. All but 1 have either travel history abroad, or contacts with previous patients, the Minister disclosed at a daily briefing.

“My heartfelt thanks goes to the Gates Foundation for just making a 200 million birr commitment to our city! You are a genuine partner & this will go a long way in building up our defenses against the spread of #COVID19 & the larger impact of this pandemic on our communities,” he added.

Health Minister Lia Tadesse also announced that health professionals accommodation received a boost after a local real estate giant availed a brand new apartment block for three months to house the workers.

“My profound appreciation to Noah Real Estate for generously handing over it’s brand new apartment for three months as a residence for our Health professionals combating COVID19 (in) Ethiopia,” the Minister tweeted.

My heartfelt thanks goes to the Gates Foundation for just making a 200 million birr commitment to our city! You are a genuine partner & this will go a long way in building up our defenses against the spread of #COVID19 & the larger impact of this pandemic on our communities.

— Takele Uma Banti (@TakeleUma) April 14, 2020

April 13: Cases hit 74, regional testing boost, ventilators expected

Ethiopia’s COVID-19 file as of April 13 has 74 cases with three deaths and 14 recoveries.

The country is seeking to boost its ventilator reserves according to Health Minister Lia Tadesse. She disclosed to local media outlets that procurement of 400 ventilators was ongoing. She said Ethiopia had 435 ventilators at last count, many of which dysfunctional.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, another 122 ventilators were imported. Weeks back a private hospital held training for medics on how to use the life-saving respiratory devices which are currently a hot cake globally given their central role in saving patients with acute conditions of coronavirus.

Minister Lia is also quoted as stressing that healthcare professionals caring for COVID-19 patients will be provided with life insurances.

PM Abiy also announced via Twitter that local production of face masks was ongoing at an industrial park. According to him, companies in Hawasa Industrial Park were currently producing 10,000 face masks per day with production expected to be scaled up to 50,0000 per day.

Our industries are adapting to the times. Companies in Hawasa Industrial Park undeterred and shifting operations to meet immediate needs. Currently producing 10k face masks per day to increase to 50k/day. Well done. I encourage other companies to innovate and adapt. pic.twitter.com/XDqGY4UYhZ

— Abiy Ahmed Ali ?? (@AbiyAhmedAli) April 12, 2020

Meanwhile, regional testing of the virus got a further boost after a laboratory went operational at the Haramaya University near Harar city, over the weekend. The lab’s coordinator Dr. Nega Assefa said if all inputs are available smoothly, the lab has the capacity to test 384 samples every 2 hours.

Tigray region’s Mekelle University became the first outside of Addis Ababa to have a testing laboratory weeks back. Late last week, Bahir Dar, capital of Amhara region, started testing for COVID-19.

The test started at the region’s Public Health Institute and had a capacity to conduct 100 tests daily. The region said at the time that it was working to expand similar works to 3 cities: Gonder, Dessie and Debre Birhan.

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April 11: Cases hit 69, medics join virtual training, Abiy donates

As of April 11, cases in Ethiopia had reached 69 according to Health Minister Lia Tadesse’s updates. The number of new cases were four, three of whom had travel history. 54 patients remain in treatment whiles recoveries have reached 10. three deaths and two repatriations complete the fact sheet.

Meanwhile, the first China-Africa virtual seminar took place on Friday involving exchanges between an Ethiopian team and counterparts from a Chinese university. The session was facilitated by the Jack Ma Foundation.

The foundation posted on Twitter: “Knowledge is power! Yesterday, we hosted our first COVID-19 China-Africa GMCC webinar. The 2nd Affiliated Hospital Zhejiang Univ. joined Ethiopia’s Health Minister, St. Paul’s Hospital and 20+ Ethiopian hospitals online. More webinars to come with Rwanda, Zimbabwe & others!”

Meanwhile Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and First Lady Zenash Tayachew have made donations to the Addis Ababa City Administration. The food supplies donated were to help the city administration to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 by supporting the vulnerable.

#Ethiopia: PM, First Lady hand over food supplies to #AddisAbaba city administration https://t.co/Qxqi1vALEh pic.twitter.com/fI52pUePhM

— FBC (Fana Broadcasting Corporate S.C.) (@fanatelevision) April 11, 2020

April 10: MPs approve state of emergency

The Ethiopian Parliament has today approved the five-month state of emergency declared to fight coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Council of Ministers led by PM Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday declared the measure to control the spread of the virus and reduce its impact on the country.

Ethiopia’s current tallies stand at 56 confirmed cases, out of which four have recovered and two have died. Two of the patients have been repatriated weeks back.

Abiebie Adanech, Attorney general disclosed yesterday that the COVID-19 State of Emergency (SOE) will be supervised by the Council of Ministers & Ministerial sub committees – the later to be established on an as and when basis.

Previous State of Emergencies have been overseen by Command Posts (CP), which have often been accused of gross abuse of rights including targeted arrests and use of lethal force against persons believed to flout the orders.

April 9: Ethiopian courts to hear domestic violence cases

Ethiopia’s Chief Justice on Thursday disclosed that federal courts will listen to domestic violence cases that arise from the stay at home order occasioned by a state of emergency declaration on Wednesday April 8.

CJ Meaza Ashenafi disclosed the measure on Twitter: “Considering the possibility of an increase in domestic violence during the #StayAtHome period, a decision is made for federal courts to entertain charges of domestic violence as an urgent type of case.”

On March 18, the federal courts announced partial closure as means of containing spread of the coronavirus. The courts were not to accept new files except cases requiring urgent attention. On April 1, the closure was extended by another 23 days.

Government imposed a five-month state of emergency across the territory, the sternest measure yet for Africa’s second most populous nation. All land borders had been closed and most regional states had strict bans on public transport.

Ethiopia’s COVID-19 tallies as of April 9 midday local time stood at 55 cases with four recoveries and two deaths. The figure is relatively low for a region where neighbours had recorded 100+ cases.

The incidence of increasing gender-based violence amid lockdowns across the world was raised by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a recent address calling for more to be done to stem the threat.

More than 1 million people were systematically murdered in just 100 days during the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

We must never again let such an atrocity occur. We must say no to hate speech & xenophobia & reject the forces of polarization, nationalism & protectionism. pic.twitter.com/54LdvZTsTO

— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 7, 2020

April 8: State of Emergency declared, First Lady sings

The Ethiopian government has imposed a five-month State of Emergency in the wake of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. A statement released by the Attorney General’s office says constitutional rights to be suspended. The implementation of the emergency rule starts today.

Most regions across the country had banned the operation of most means of public transport including the capital Addis Ababa, which is the epicenter of the virus in the country.

Already, the northern Tigray Region had declared a state of emergency at a time they had recorded no cases. The region is also the first to get testing capacity outside of the national facilities in Addis Ababa.

The national tally as of April 8 was 55 with three new cases from the last round of tests. Meanwhile, government says it has prepared 645 houses to be given to healthcare professionals helping COVID19 patients.

Additional 600 houses are under preparation. Health Minister Lia Tadesse further disclosed that the ministry is working hard to provide Personal Protective Equipment obtained through supports and purchases.

In other news, First Lady Zinash Tayachew aside recent donations towards the coronavirus fight, has released a gospel song seeking divine intervention in the battle against the pandemic.

In the 6 minute long song, she pleads for “God’s mercy” as the world continues the battles against coronavirus. The song was released on Tuesday and is titled Maren – an Amharic word meaning “have mercy on us.” The first lady sings on a stage with a cross behind her at a point kneeling and praying for “God not to abandon her people.”

The song does not directly refer to the virus, but has phrases like “do not abandon us during this time when the world is terrorised by bad news.” Originally uploaded on the YouTube handle of one Joyce Girma Official,, it has raked some 6,000 plus views as at the time of publication of this article.

READ MORE: Ethiopia PM cheered for publicly showing affection to First Lady

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April 6: Addis Abab to relocate main market, deaths recorded

The Addis Ababa City Administration has announced that it is temporarily relocating a famous tarding center, the Atikilit Tera market to an open space as of tomorrow April 7.

Atikilit Tera is reputed as the biggest fruits and vegetable markets in the city. Its population is to move to an open space in Jan Meda, city mayor Takele Uma said. The relocation will be implemented with “strict discipline,” he added.

The city authorities have been undertaking series of measures aimed at combating the pandemic which has infected 44 people according to latest figures from Health Ministry.

Ethiopia also recorded first deaths from the disease over the weekend. “The patient was admitted on April 2nd and was under strict medical follow up in the Intensive Care Unit,” Minister Lia Tadesse said of the first victim, a 60-year-old woman. The second victim, a 56-year-old Ethiopian man, had been in ICU for three days.

Meanwhile, religious leaders – Orthodox Church, Islamic – have declared 30 days of fasting and prayers. The leaders met with the city administration of Sunday.

“These uncharted times require an immense amount of unity & humility. I am confident that as we rise to this challenge God will surely show his Mercy. May God bless our people,” the Mayor posted on Twitter after the meeting.

#COVID19: #AddisAbeba City Admin is temporarily relocating the famous #AtikilitTera market, the biggest fruits & vegetable markets in the city, to the open space in #JanMeda as of tomorrow, TakeleUma said. The relocation will be implemented with "strict discipline", Takele Said. pic.twitter.com/Rcnt17M64s

— Addis Standard (addisstandard) April 6, 2020

April 3: Ethiopia cases reach 35, Jack Ma donation distributed

Confirmed cases of the virus have reached 35 in Ethiopia with six new cases being the highest rise since the first case was recorded last month.

Ethiopia’s current tally is relatively low as compared to other countries in the region like Kenya and Rwanda with 122 and 84 respectively. There is a general ban on movement and restriction on public gatherings in the different regional states.

The federal government is leading the virus response. All land borders were closed last week as a containment measure. Cases have been concentrated in Addis Ababa with Oromia and Ahmara region as well as Dire Dawa having recorded cases.


— Lia Tadesse (@lia_tadesse) April 3, 2020

Ethiopia races to bolster ventilator stockpile for coronavirus fight

In four years as a doctor in Ethiopia, Rediet Libanos has used a mechanical ventilator just once: on a patient who suffered a haemorrhagic stroke a few months ago.

But as the country braces for a potential surge in coronavirus, the 28-year-old and many of her colleagues are scrambling to master the workings of the breathing machines, which buy time for critically-ill patients.

During a training this week in Addis Ababa, Rediet and six other doctors got a refresher on how to optimise oxygen volume and pressure for patients whose lungs are failing, practicing first on a green rubber dummy organ before visiting clinics to see ventilators in action.

Though Ethiopia has reported only 29 cases of COVID-19, two of them critical, Rediet expects the country will soon see an onslaught of patients for whom ventilation could mean the difference between life and death.

“I will be on the front lines of that, so I need to be skilled in how to use this machine,” she told AFP.

Yet even as doctors study up on ventilation techniques, Ethiopia’s government — like others in Africa — is confronting a stark ventilator shortage that could hobble its COVID-19 response.

In a country of more than 100 million people, just 54 ventilators — out of around 450 total — had been set aside for COVID-19 patients as of this week, said Yakob Seman, director general of medical services at the health ministry.

By comparison, the US state of New York, the current centre of the pandemic, has said it could need tens of thousands of ventilators for a population of around 20 million.

The Ethiopian health ministry’s own “worst-case scenario” modelling predicts the country will require around 1,500 ventilators for COVID-19 patients by the end of April, Yakob said.

With producers overwhelmed by orders from around the globe, it’s not at all clear how this gap will be bridged, he said.

“I’m really worried about a shortage,” Yakob said. “This is not because of the commitment of the government or lack of will, but because of lack of resources.”


April 1: Tigray is first regional state with COVID-19 lab

Northern Tigray region has become the first regional state in Ethiopia to have a COVID-19 testing lab. This development comes at a time when the state has no confirmed case of the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports indicate that the medical facility is as a result of cooperation between Mekelle University and the Tigray Health Bureau and Tigray Health Research Institute. The lab started work on April 1 in the presence of region’s Vice President Debretsion GhebreMichael.

President of the university noted that the institution had the support of the Ethiopia Public Health Institute, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

This is the second “lead” since Ethiopia recorded a case last month. Tigray declared a state of emergency and near lockdown days before other states followed suit.

Ethiopia currently has 29 confirmed cases of the virus according to the Ministry of Health. Government has shut all land borders except for essential imports coming in. Cases have been recorded in capital Addis Ababa, Oromia and Amhara regional states and in Dire Dawa, a chartered city.

Breaking News: in a strong collaboration among Mekelle University, Tigray Bureau of Health & Tigray Health Research Institute, testing #coronavirus #Covid19 has began at #Mekelle – We thank all the committed professionals! Exemplary partnership! We made it hgodefay MekUniETH pic.twitter.com/jDVbHKyWd9

— Kindeya G.hiwot, Prof (@DrKindeya) April 1, 2020

April 1: Close places of worship: Orthodox church follows Islamic council

Barely twenty-four hours after the Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, EIASC, announced cessation to all prayers in mosques, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church, EOTC, announced a similar measure.

The church’s Holy Synod at a press briefing on Wednesday said as of tomorrow followers of the Church, the largest in Ethiopia, should pray from home and only a limited number of priests should conduct prayers inside churches.

The Holy Synod also decided that all premises of spiritual colleges, Sunday schools and other facilities under EOTC should be designated to serve as isolation centers for COVID19 suspected patients in the event of the possible spread. The church also donated 3 million birr to contain the virus.

News Alert:#Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC) said all Mosques should close down & members of the Muslim community should perform their prayers at home. It also said the Ulama Council has ordered to suspend all teaching-learning processes until #COVID19 is over pic.twitter.com/riPpmfeKEY

— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) March 31, 2020

March 31: Al-Amoudi donates towards COVID-19 fight

Ethiopia-born Saudi billionaire, Mohammed Ali Al-Amoudi has made the biggest private donation yet to coronavirus combat in Ethiopia.

He donated the sum of 120 million birr (about $3.6m) to the Addis Ababa city administration on Tuesday. Ethiopia as of midday March 31 had 25 confirmed cases of the virus. Transport has been banned in most parts of the country as government moves to curb spread.

Infections have so far been recorded in the capital Addis Ababa, and in the oromia and Amhara regional states.

Al-Amoudi who is owner of a mining firm Mohammed International Development Research and Organization Cos., MIDROC.

He was arrested on corruption related charges by the Saudi government back in 2017 but was released in early 2019 after the active intervention of Prime Minister Abiya Ahmed Ali.

Amoudi, in his 70s, became a multi-billionaire investing first in construction, agriculture and mining in Ethiopia, where he was born, and then purchasing oil refineries in Morocco and Sweden. Forbes valued his fortune at more than $10 billion in 2016.

#Ethiopia: Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al-amoudi, chairman and owner of #MIDROC_Ethiopia has donated 120 million birr to fight #coronavirus (#COVID19) in #AddisAbaba pic.twitter.com/9I7v8tl5Zz

— FBC (Fana Broadcasting Corporate S.C.) (@fanatelevision) March 31, 2020

March 30: Ethiopian regions ban transport

Four regional states in Ethiopia have imposed a ban on transport as part of coronavirus containment measures. The regions are northern Tigray region (which has declared a state of emergency since last week.), Oromia, Amhara and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region.

Prior to the last weekend, cases were recorded only in Addis Ababa. Oromia recorded two cases on Saturday whiles the first two in Amhara region were recored on Monday.

The federal government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed closed all land borders even as the national flier, Ethiopian, continues a very scaled down operations of passenger flights concentrating more on freight.

The country currently has 23 confirmed cases out of which two have since been repatriated. Authorities say contact tracing efforts are underway whiles quarantined persons continue to be tested.

March 29: Ethiopia reports cases outside Addis Ababa

Ethiopia at close of day March 29 had reported 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19. An increase of five over the weekend. Three on Saturday and two on Sunday.

Of the three cases on Saturday, one was recorded in the capital Addis Ababa and two in the town of Adama located in the Oromia region. It is the first reported case outside of the capital since the first cases was confirmed earlier this month.

“The other two cases are a 14 year old male and 48 year old female who are members of a family who resides in Adama town. They had history of contact with previously confirmed case. They were under medical follow up since the confirmation of the close contact and tested positive on March 28th 2020,” a statement from the Ministry of Health read in part.

Out of close to 900 tests, Ethiopia has recorded 21 cases, a recovery with two of the confirmed cases having been repatriated to their countries.

Meanwhile more details are emerging from the state of emergency imposed by the Tigray regional state. Among other measures, coffee houses, cafes and juice houses shall be closed.

Anyone who travelled out of Tigray in the past 20 days shall be tested. Anyone who enters Tigray after shall be tested and put under supervision. All house rents shall be halved over the period.

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March 26: Tigray region imposes state of emergency

Ethiopia’s northern Tigray regional state on Thursday, March 26, announced a region-wide state of emergency as a means of combating the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tigray Mass Media Agency said the decision was reached a day after the regional state council met and agreed on the decision which has implications on movement and on social activities.

Under the 15-day emergency rule: all travels within the state is banned. There is also a ban on social activities such as weddings and other festivities which could lead of large gatherings. Markets are also to be closed.

More details are expected to be released later. The federal government has closed all land borders as per the decision of an inter-ministerial COVID-19 committee led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

As at March 25, Ethiopia had confirmed 12 cases with all cases in the capital Addis Ababa. The figure is out of about 500 tests overall. It is woefully minimal as compared to South Africa’s over 15,000 tests that have turnd out 704 confirmed cases.

March 22: Ethiopia shuts land borders, impose more restrictions

Ethiopia will deploy the army to halt the movement of people along all borders, with the exception of incoming essential goods to the country, this is one of eight new measures being implemented by the federal government in the wake of the coronavirus spread.

Prime minister Abiy Ahmed on March 23 met with heads of the security sector for deliberations aimed at containment of the pandemic. The group he met today are the security sub-committee of the National Ministerial Committee.

Aside shutting land borders, a series of enforcement measures were announced relating to regulations on large gatherings and social distancing. Public transports are to avoid overcrowding whiles businesses will be checked in line with normal pricing of essentials.

Government offices have been tasked to employ adequate safety measures for employees whiles seeking home options for other employees. The security forces – army and police – are to undertake internal preparations for enforcement of the relevant rules.

March 20: Ethiopian suspends flights to 30 countries

State-affiliated FBC reports that Ethiopian airlines (Ethiopian) has suspended flights to 30 countries due to coronavirus (COVID-19), effective from Friday March 20.

At the beginning of the outbreak, Ethiopian maintained a decision to stick to its China route at a time most African airlines had suspended operations to and from the country. Ethiopia currently has nine confirmed cases and tests are being run on hundreds of suspected cases.

We would like to inform our esteemed customers that we have stopped flight to 30 countries due to COVID19 virus. #EthiopianAirlines pic.twitter.com/0jckrsTzD0

— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) March 20, 2020

According to journalist Samson Berhane, CEO of the company, Africa’s most profitable and expansive, confirmed that they had made losses of up to $190 million. “We ll probably face the biggest crisis in the history of aviation in Ethiopia,” Tewolde Gebremariam said.

The FBC report adds that Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed had announced that all passengers arriving in Ethiopia from COVID -19 affected countries will be quarantined for 14 days, with all cost to be covered by themselves. Uganda has a similar rule in place.

Night clubs are to remain closed whiles government is set to release a category of prisonser. Specifically inmates who have children, and whose probationary period is drawing to an end plus those in detention for minor crimes, the PM added.

On the subject of religious institutions, Abiy said they had been tasked to take all necessary measures towards the implementation of a robust mechanism to prevent the spread of the virus.

All passengers arriving to #Ethiopia will be subjected to a 14 day quarantined period in a designated hotels at their own personal cost. pic.twitter.com/Q4wDwdktNa

— Samson Berhane Asmelash (@BerhaneSamson) March 20, 2020

March 19: Ethiopians must join world not stigmatize others – Minister

Ethiopia’s Health Minister says the coronavirus pandemic was not related to any country or nationality, she said it as a “test against humanity” which required Ethiopians to join the world to defeat.

“#COVID19 is not related to any country or nationality. It is a test against all humanity. We should fight it together and defeat it. I call upon all my fellow Ethiopians to join hands with the world to fight this global challenge,” her post on Twitter read.

It is believed to be connected to a United States Embassy statement that alerted to rising anti-foreigner sentiments in parts of the country.

The embassy cautioned that foreigners were being targeted with the accusation that they were infected with Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus.

In a security alert said as at March 18, the embassy: “continues to receive reports regarding a rise in anti-foreigner sentiment.”

Typical derogatory comments such as “China” and “ferengi” (a reference to foreigners) have been “reportedly coupled with the label ‘corona’, indicating a disparaging view on the link between the outbreak of Covid-19 and foreigners in Ethiopia,” it added.

“Reports indicate that foreigners have been attacked with stones, denied transportation services… being spat on, chased on foot, and been accused of being infected with Covid-19,” the embassy added.

Ethiopia recorded its first case last week of a Japanese national. The cases have risen to six, the sixth being of a British diplomat. Health authorities said they were testing over 900 people for the virus as part of contact tracing efforts connected to confirmed cases.

Across Africa, there is a view that most confirmed cases have been imported largely from Europe. Most index cases were of either European nationals or of Africans with recent travel history to Europe. There are sixteen deaths so far, as at March 19.

U.S. president Donald Trump has been under fire on Twitter for referring to the coronavirus as “The Chinese Virus.” Most people have called the reference racist especially with the WHO cautioning against tagging a global malady with a certain category of people.

March 16: Ethiopia’s COVID-19 rules: Crowd ban, free transport, regulate essentials etc.

Ethiopia confirmed the fifth coronavirus case on Monday (March 16), a day after it had recorded an increase of three in addition to the index case that was recorded last week.

The office of the Prime Minister issued a statement surrounding key measures taken by government to safeguard public safety and orderliness.

The COVID-19 National Ministerial Committee at its second meeting led by PM Abiy agreed on a number of measures aimed at addressing containment and potential spread of the virus.

It announced a 10-point measure that was set to last “for the next two weeks, subject to further assessments,” the statement read. the measures included wide-ranging public bans, social interventions and regulating of economic activities propped up by the pandemic.

  • Large gatherings including sporting events had been banned whiles small gatherings required clearance from the Health Ministry.
  • All educational institutions with the exception of higher learning institutions were to be closed.
  • Religious institutions and places of worship are tasked to limit gatherings
  • A national hygiene and preventive measures movement launched from federal level to local levels
  • Government announced allocation of budget for distribution of masks, soap, alcohol solutions and other items in critical locations.
  • Government buses are to be availed free of charge to help control crowding in public transport. Special buses designated to take public servants to work. Private transporters are also asked to follow suit.
  • Trade ministry to monitor and act against businesses engaging in price-gouging
  • Special attention to be paid to the elderly.
  • Volunteers tasked to compliment government education, prevention efforts.

“The Prime Minister calls upon all to maintain calm and equip themselves with accurate information from the Ministry of Health.

“Citizens are asked to maintain strong hand hygiene and avoid (ing) unnecessary physical contact in line with Ministry of Health guidelines,” the statement concluded.

PM Abiy over the weekend disclosed that he had reached a partnership with Chinese e-commerce founder Jack Ma for an Africa wide supply of key coronavirus materials including masks, testing kits and literature.

Together with members of my cabinet, I have accepted WHO and DrTedros’s #SafeHands challenge as a means of preventing the spread of #COVID19. I challenge EmmanuelMacron and MohamedBinZayed pic.twitter.com/66DpjmpAA9

— Abiy Ahmed Ali ?? (@AbiyAhmedAli) March 16, 2020

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